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Object interviews as a means of studying everyday life
Helen Holmes

Since the material turn researchers have been exploring new ways to engage with the objects and materials of everyday life. Such methods aim to overcome subject–object binaries, placing the very substance of materials at the core of their inquiry (Gregson and Crewe, 1998). This chapter takes one such approach – object interviews – to explore how objects and materials structure our everyday lives and relationships. This method involves not only unearthing the significance of objects to their owners, but also, importantly, investigating the biography of the object itself. Drawing on the work of Humphries and Smith (2014) such an approach reveals an object’s materiality, biography and practice. It explores how an object’s material qualities – its fibres, textures, patterns and forms (Miller, 2005) – influence the relationship we have with it. Objects form part of networks with other objects, they have past and future lives, they enable and afford certain practices and activities, and they often play a central role in the relationships we have with others. They are a crucial component in everyday life. This chapter offers empirical examples of object interviews, alongside tips on how to use this method both as a form of inquiry and a focus of study.

in Mundane Methods
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Innovative ways to research the everyday

Mundane methods is an innovative and original collection which will make a distinctive methodological and empirical contribution to research on the everyday. Bringing together a range of interdisciplinary approaches, it provides a practical, hands-on approach for scholars interested in studying the mundane and exploring its potential. Divided into three key themes, this volume explores methods for studying materials and memories, senses and emotions, ,and mobilities and motion, with encounters, relationships, practices, spaces, temporalities and imaginaries cross-cutting throughout. In doing so, it draws on the work of a range of established and up-and-coming scholars researching the everyday, including human geographers, sociologists, anthropologists, urban planners, cartographers and fashion historians. Mundane methods offers a range of truly unique methods – from loitering, to smell mapping, to Memory Work – which promise to embrace and retain the vitality of research into everyday life. With empirical examples, practical tips and exercises, this book will be accessible to a range of audiences interested in making sense of the everyday.

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Mundane methods and the extra-ordinary everyday
Sarah Marie Hall and Helen Holmes

Researching the everyday is more important and significant now than ever before: beyond a fad or cultural currency, understanding the mundane is key to critical and conceptual social science. But what is the everyday and how do we research it? These questions have long perplexed social and cultural theorists. While no firm consensus has ever been reached, what scholars do agree on is that there is no 'one' everyday – that everyday lives are multiple, messy and full of methodological possibilities. This introductory chapter invites readers to comprehend everyday life as an exciting and expanding field incorporating a wide range of interdisciplinary scholars. By exploring the minutiae of daily experiences and ways of making sense of the world we inhabit, the chapter also highlights the cultural, ethical, social and political significance of mundane methods.

in Mundane Methods